Four Events that Highlight Sustainable Forestry this Fall in Northeastern Connecticut

This fall Hull Forest Products is offering four free and fun events for the whole family that celebrate Connecticut’s working forests and locally grown wood products. We hope you can join us for one of these guided woods walks or for the Hull Forest Products sawmill tour, where  you can watch us turn locally grown wood into beautiful and durable wood flooring and lumber.

1.) Town Forest Provides Recreational Opportunity, Wildlife Habitat, and Forest Products

The North Brookfield Town Forest is being managed for multiple uses, including recreational opportunity, wildlife habitat, and the long-term production of forest products.

 

Join us for a walk on the 45-acre town forest owned by North Brookfield, Massachusetts, and learn how long-term forest stewardship can be applied to manage land for multiple uses and benefits, including recreation, income, and renewable energy. Hull Forest Products currently manages this land, and through the use of whole tree chipping, much of the low quality and traditionally non-merchantable timber has been removed and utililzed to produce renewable energy, while improving the conditions in the forest. The property is being managed for  recreational opportunity, wildlife habitat, aesthetic beauty, and the long-term production of forest products. Part of the forest is being turned into a woodland park for town residents to fish, walk, and picnic. This is a one-mile loop walk over moderate terrain. Leashed dogs are welcome.

Date/Time: Saturday October 3rd, starting at 10 am.

Location: 20 West Brookfield Road (Route 67) North Brookfield, MA, 01535. Signs will be posted.

Contact: Ross Hubacz (860) 576-1546

 

2.) This Was His Forest: George Hewitt Myers, the Man Behind the Yale University Forest

View of Myers Pond and fall foliage at Hull Forestland’s Myers Pond Forest, Union, CT.

Join us for a 2-hour 2-mile guided tour of Hull Forestland’s Myers Pond Forest, formerly the summer home of Yale Forest founder George Hewitt Myers and today the only private inholding in the Yale Myers Forest. Learn about the man behind the Yale-Myers Forest and how he worked to put together this most remote of Connecticut’s forested areas. See the site of the Myers home and family cemetery. This walk will be led by Hull Forest Products forester Mike Bartlett, who has received the “Mr. Walktober” award from TLGV for hosting over a thousand Walktober participants in his 15 years of volunteering for Walktober. The tour will focus on sustainable forestry, how woodland management can improve bird habitat, and the life and times of George Hewitt Myers. Leashed dogs are welcome to accompany hikers. We hope you can join us!

Date/Time: October 18, 2015 at 1:30 pm (raindate is 10/25/15 at 1:30 pm)

Location: 159 Kinney Hollow Road, Union, CT. Look for the Hull Forestlands sign.

Contact: Mike Bartlett (860) 377-0117

 

3.) Timber! A Guided Tour of the Wilford Farm Woodlot

This purple trap is designed to attract and trap the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive pest that feeds on Ash trees. The Emerald Ash Borer is in Connecticut, and there is a now a quarantine affecting the movement of Ash materials and firewood out of Connecticut. Photo courtesy of USDA.

Join licensed forester Chris Casadei for this 2-hour 2-mile guided tour of the 170 acre Wilford Farm forest; participants will get to view and discuss recent woodland management activities including an improvement thinning and an Ash sanitation harvest designed to pre-emptively salvage Ash trees before the arrival of the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive pest that has infected Ash trees across Connecticut. The Wilford Farm woodlands have a history of active forest management since the old farm was disbanded, and they comprise a rolling landscape with a vast network of streams and wetlands as well as excellent wildlife habitat. Moderate terrain. Leashed dogs are welcome to accompany hikers.

Date/Time: October 3, 2015 10 am rain or shine

Location: Willington, CT. From Route 74 head south on Parker Road, take a left on Cowls Road, then left on Busse Road, and left on Meadow Lane. Follow Meadow Lane to the end. There is plenty of parking in the cul-de-sac.

Contact: Chris Casadei (860) 235-6550

 

4.) From Forest to Flooring: Making Local Goods from Local Woods at the Hull Forest Products Sawmill

 

Tour a modern a sawmill and lumber manufacturing facility and learn how locally grown trees are sustainably harvested and milled into lumber for flooring, furniture, post and beam timbers, railroad ties, pallets, and more. Watch as logs are transformed into lumber before your eyes. This is a great “how it’s made” type of tour that the whole family will enjoy. Tours take approximately one and a half hours and are an easy .4 mile walk.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see the behind-the-scenes workings of a modern sawmill and lumber manufacturing facility.  Here’s what a past tour participant had to say about the experience:

“Many, many thanks for the wonderful tour of the Hull Forest Products facility. I was impressed beyond words. To see hardwood timber–right off the logging truck–being transformed with sophisticated computer-controlled milling machines into finished product right before my eyes was truly amazing. This process must be experienced firsthand to really appreciate the enormous effort required to deliver such a diverse array of wood products from railroad ties to wide plank flooring.
And to think that this family-owned manufacturing company is based right here in Connecticut at a time when sadly, very little seems to be made in our country any more. I will not only recommend your beautiful timber and flooring products, but will do so proudly and enthusiastically.Thank you for allowing me this exceptional opportunity. Keep up the good work! ”

Date/Time: October 17, 2015, tours offered from 8 am to 2 pm

Location: Hull Forest Products, 101 Hampton Road (Route 97), Pomfret Center, CT 06259

Contact: Hull Forest Products (860) 974-0127

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Hull Forest Products Participates in National Bioenergy Day

The biomass boiler at Bennington College in Vermont. Since 2008 Bennington has used locally grown wood chips from Hull Forest Products to reduce its dependence on oil. The school has cut its emissions by over 40 percent and aims to become carbon neutral by 2020.

October 2014–

Hull Forest Products is participating in the second annual National Bioenergy Day event on October 22, 2014, to help show the public, elected officials, media, and other stakeholders how local companies are utilizing bioenergy.

Hull Forest Products supplies mill quality as well as whole tree wood chips to many New England institutions that utilize biomass heating, including Ponagansett Middle and High Schools in Rhode Island, Mt. Wachusett Community College and the Quabbin Reservoir Visitor Center in Massachusetts, and Bennington College in Vermont.

One ton of wood chips has the energy equivalent of approximately 60 gallons of heating oil, but unlike oil, wood chips are a renewable (and local) source of energy. Hull Forest Products’s  woodchips come from trees grown in family-owned working forests, and their use helps promote a healthy market for local wood, which in turn helps keep forests as forests in our region.

Please join us at 99 Canal Street, Putnam, CT from 3-7 pm on October 22, 2014 to learn more about the availability of woody biomass in southern New England and how this resource is being put to use locally. Bioenergy experts will be on hand, along with residential and commercial pellet boiler information, food vendors, and live music.

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Free Guided Woods Walks This Fall in Northeastern Connecticut

Hull Forest Products is hosting two woodland walks in October 2014 in conjunction with The Last Green Valley’s Walktober event. These guided walks are a great opportunity to get some exercise, enjoy the fall foliage, and learn how our licensed foresters help woodland owners manage their land for forest products, wildlife, and recreation. We hope you can join us and bring the whole family for these free, fun, and educational events!

Hull forester Mike Bartlett giving a tour of Hatchet Hill in Woodstock, CT.

1.) Hatchet Hill Hike, Woodstock, CT | October 11, 2014, 9 a.m.

Hull forester Mike Bartlett will lead participants on a 2-hour hike over 1.5 miles of moderate terrain (there are some steep slopes) to tour the Walker family woodland, which has interesting geological features and some of the best scenic vistas in the The Last Green Valley.

Participants will learn how much a tree can expand its crown in one year; how to age a pine tree by its branch whorls; the difference between even and uneven aged forests; which tree species are shade tolerant and which are not; and how foresters manipulate sunlight to promote desired seedling regeneration.

In the same family for over 160 years, the Walker family woodland has been managed for recreation, wildlife habitat, and forest products, and it is an excellent example of how working forests can meet the needs of society while simultaneously providing multiple environmental benefits.

Date/Time: October 11, 2014 9 a.m.
Address:#1914 Rte. 198 Woodstock, CT. This is the West side of Rte. 198, 2 miles north of the intersection of Routes 197 and 198.

 

Hull forester Chris Casadei
Hull forester Chris Casadei will lead hikers on a "Working Family Forest and Shelterwood Harvest" tour on October 19, 2014.

2.) Working Family Forest and Shelterwood Harvest Tour | October 19, 2014, 10 a.m.

Hull forester Chris Casadei will lead this 2-hour walk over 1.5 miles of moderate terrain that was farmed in colonial days, as evidenced by the beautiful stonewalls that still crisscross the land.

Participants will hike the 165-acre property to view and discuss recent forest management activities there, including areas of improvement thinning and a 17-acre first-phase shelterwood harvest designed to remove a declining stand of pine and low quality hardwoods and replace it with upland oak regeneration. This is a great opportunity for anyone considering a shelterwood harvest to get a firsthand look at a textbook example.

Participants will learn what forestry techniques are used to establish a new generation of seedlings from a particular species or group, giving the landowner more control over what regenerates. Other topics include how to protect the health of the residual stand and how income generated over time from the sale of timber can mitigate development pressures on family forestland owners.

Leashed dogs are welcome on this hike.

Date/Time: October 19, 2014, 10 a.m.
Address: From Rte. 138 in Griswold, head south on Bethel Road, take the 3rd right on Stetson Road and follow to cul-de-sac, plenty of on-street parking is available.

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Hull Floors Used At Frye Boot Stores

Frye Boot’s Manhattan flagship store used ten inch wide floor planks of natural White Oak from Hull Forest Products.

If you have visited Frye Boot’s Manhattan or Boston stores, you’ve stood on Hull wide plank Oak floors. Frye Boot, the oldest continually operated shoe brand in the United States, wanted the design and visual merchandising of its stores to reference their long history of shoemaking, and they turned to “raw” ingredients like wood, leather, and metal to convey the company’s brand heritage.  Hull Forest Products provided ten inch wide live sawn solid White Oak flooring for the New York store and eight inch wide live sawn White Oak flooring for the Boston location. Both floors are rustic grade, with occasional knots and character markings, and both were given a dark multi-tonal stain to help create the “vintage workshop” feel envisioned by the Frye’s design team.

Learn more about our wood floors

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Audubon Applauds Quality of Bird Habitat at Hull’s Connecticut Forestland

Scarlet Tanager, photographed at Hull’s Myers Pond Forest in Union, CT, a mixed deciduous forest interspersed with hemlocks and pines. Photo courtesy of Patrick Comins, Director of Bird Conservation/Audubon Connecticut.

Union, Connecticut– In the summer of 2014, biologists from Audubon Connecticut and scientists from the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station teamed up to conduct bird habitat assessments on privately owned woodlands across the state, with the goal of helping landowners take steps to enhance bird habitat in their forests. Connecticut has faced forest fragmentation and an ensuing loss of variety in bird habitats, but intensively managed working woodlands can provide a range of critical habitats, from the unfragmented interior forest habitat favored by neotropical migrating birds like the Scarlet Tanager, pictured above, to the early successional habitat favored by shrubland and grassland birds.

Among the woodlands assessed was the Myers Pond Forest in Union, a 450-acre woodland owned by Hull Forestlands and managed by Hull Forest Products, a CT sawmill and woodland management service. Permanently protected with a conservation easement held by the Nature Conservancy, Hull’s Myers Pond Forest is surrounded by the 8,000 acre Yale University Forest, creating a large tract of contiguous woodland. The property has been formally managed for timber production for over a century, and most recently has undergone harvests to remove diseased Hemlock and promote White Pine regeneration.

View of Myers Pond and fall foliage at Hull Forestland’s Myers Pond Forest. The woodland has been formally managed for timber production since 1900 and provides a wide range of bird habitat, including sedge/tussock, meadow, open water, riparian, and upland habitat types.

Patrick Comins, Director of Bird Conservation at Audubon Connecticut, was impressed with the quality of the bird habitat at the Myers Pond Forest as well as the way in which Hull’s forest management activities had led to forest regeneration.  He hailed the property as “truly one of the crown jewels of forestland in Connecticut.” Jeffrey Ward, Chief Scientist at the Dept. of Forestry and Horticulture at the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment station, declared the Myers Pond Forest the “best managed property he had seen” so far in their bird habitat assessments, which included over 25 properties in Connecticut.

In southern New England, residential development and suburbanization have contributed to forest fragmentation, and as forest parcels grow smaller and smaller, they provide less viable habitat for birds. Smaller parcels also make it more difficult to practice forest management, and as a result, there is less variety of bird habitat. In contrast, when timber harvests are periodically conducted as part of a forest management plan, they create temporary openings in the woods that quickly regenerate to shrubbery, then young forest, eventually growing into mature forest, and they provide a variety of bird habitats in the process.

Hull Forestlands and Hull Forest Products are proud of their role in contributing critical habitat to Connecticut’s birds and grateful that Audubon Connecticut was able to perform the assessments and provide feedback for landowners.

Learn more about our woodland management services for landowners

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Wide Plank Pine Floors

wide pine floor custom finished to look like old heart pine
Figure 1: Newly sawn Eastern White Pine + a custom stain + pure tung oil for a matte finish = an antique looking wide pine floor, from $5.05/square foot. The homeowner used our premium grade wide pine, stained it with hoodfinishing.com’s “burnt umber” wiping stain (that had been thinned with a reducer) then applied several coats of pure tung oil (from realmilkpaint.com) that was thinned 50/50 with mineral spirits. The result was this beautiful low-luster matte finish.

The first floors we milled at Hull Forest Products nearly fifty years ago were wide pine floors, and wide plank pine continues to be one of our best selling wood floors for kitchens and other rooms. New England homeowners (and many others with antique, farmhouse, or period inspired homes) love traditional wide pine. There is something about the width and length of the planks, the large sound red knots, and the patina that develops that makes a wide pine floor charming. The floor has an heirloom quality.

Customers often come to us looking for a floor that emulates the look and feel of old pumpkin pine or heart pine at a reasonable price, so we show them how our clients have chosen to finish their new wide pine floors to mimic the look of an antique floor. See Figure 1 above for an example, and check out our pine flooring gallery for many others.

Some of you may be familiar with the living history museum, Old Sturbridge Village. They used our wide pine floors for their Oliver Wight Tavern Building. If you get a chance to visit there, be sure to check out this floor (shown in Figure 2 below).  It is an interesting example as it had no finish applied at all and has been left to weather the heavy public foot traffic in the buff.

Our wide pine flooring in use at Old Sturbridge Village in the Oliver Wight Tavern. OSV applied no finish to the floor, preferring to let it age naturally.
Figure 2: Our wide pine flooring in use at Old Sturbridge Village in the Oliver Wight Tavern. OSV applied no finish to the floor, preferring to let it age naturally.

We source our flooring grade pine from the historic Myers Pond and Yale University Forests in Connecticut, harvesting only during the cold winter months so we get the best color retention.  We mill our wide pine floors from logs predominantly twelve feet and longer, selecting  for even growth and live red knots.

Wide pine flooring lovers are often history buffs, so you may be interested to know that the Eastern White Pine tree played a role in the American Revolution. Because it grows so tall, Eastern White Pine has long been used for the masts of ships, and the British Navy tried to reserve the tallest White Pines in the colonies for the masts of British naval vessels. When an act to this effect was enforced in New Hampshire, it outraged the colonists. Though forbidden to cut “any pine tree of the growth of 12 inches of diameter,” it became unfashionable to have floorboards in one’s home that were less than 12 inches wide.

In 1772 a sawmill owner in Weare, New Hampshire was arrested and fined when white pine logs with the king’s broad arrow mark were found at his mill.  He and a group of about 40 townspeople rioted, attacking the sheriff and his deputy and literally running them out of town in what became known as the Pine Tree Riot.  This act of rebellion against British authority was an inspiration for the Boston Tea Party, which took place the following year.

For those of you who appreciate the “story” that boards can tell, see figure 3, below. This is a truly unique pine board with a very old pruning mark  that was revealed when the log was sawn.  (Thanks to Tom Fletcher in our flooring shop for spotting this.)  The flat dark lines at the ends of the knots indicate where the tree was pruned.  As you can see, the tree healed quickly and went on to produce clear grain. This board is 24″ wide and comes from a tree with an estimated age of 125-175 years.

pine board with pruning mark visible in wood grain
Figure 3: This 24″ Eastern White Pine board came from a tree with an estimated age of 125-175 years; someone pruned the tree around the turn of the century and you can see that in the straight dark lines at the ends of the knots.

Visit our gallery of wide plank pine floors for more information and to browse photos showing how the application of stains and/or finishes can change the look of a wide pine floor.

For quotes or samples, email us or call 1-800-928-9602.

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Hull Forest Products Wide Plank Floors Debut at Architectural Digest Home Design Show 2014

 

Hull Forest Products is proud to exhibit for the first time at the 2014 Architectural Digest Home Design Show #ADHDS 2014. We’ve been sending a lot of floors to the NYC area lately, so we thought it was time to exhibit in this neck of the woods.  Thanks to the hard work of all our employees, we put together a great booth featuring our North American White Oak, Red Oak, Hard Maple, Walnut, Ash, Birch, and Curly Maple wood flooring.

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Hull Forest Products Earns “Best of Houzz 2014” Design Award

wide plank curly birch wood flooring from hull forest products
Wide plank figured Birch wood flooring from Hull Forest Products.

Pomfret, CT, February 4, 2014 – Hull Forest Products  has been awarded a “Best Of Houzz” design award by Houzz.com, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The family-run forestry service, sawmill, and wide plank flooring manufacturer was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users who comprise the Houzz community. This award goes to those whose work was the most popular among Houzz users, who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site, and ipad/iphone/android apps.

“We work hard to make wood floors like no one else, and we are thrilled that our American-grown and manufactured wide plank floors have been so popular with the Houzz community,” said Mary Hull, co-owner of Hull Forest Products.  “People feel good about choosing our floors because they are beautiful, durable, and sustainably grown products whose use helps protect working  forests here in the United States.”

With Houzz, homeowners can identify top-rated products like Hull Forest Products’s wide plank floors and find companies whose work matches their own aspirations for their home. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.

Follow Hull Forest Products on Houzz:  http://www.houzz.com/pro/hullforest01/hull-forest-products

Remodeling and Home Design
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Recreational Leases in New England Forests

Four coyote pups explore recently harvested woods.
Forests and wildlife go hand in hand. Forest thinings bring sunlight to the forest floor, leading to new growth that attracts birds, browsers, and predators. Can you find all four coyote pups in this photo? They were exploring a recent timber harvest in Wales, Massachusetts.

To date we have permanently protected over 10,000 acres of our Massachusetts and Connecticut woodlands from development.  These working forests provide so many public benefits, including enhanced air and water quality, large unfragmented wildlife habitat,  critical wintering and staging areas for migratory waterfowl, carbon sequestration, and a steady supply of timber to meet society’s demand for sustainably grown, renewable building materials.

As part of our commitment to multiple use in our forestland (wildlife, timber, recreation), we lease some of these large forestland properties to individuals and groups interested in exclusive hunting leases and recreational access. The properties generally include access roads, gates, and miles of trails. Some even have warming cabins with wood stoves. Our clients include fish & game clubs whose suburban locations do not allow them to hunt deer;  bird dog trial enthusiasts; hunters; and outdoorsmen and women of all kinds. Some of our lease clients have been with us for over 30 years, allowing them and their families to develop a special connection with the land.

For more information on our recreational leasing program, visit us at hullforest.com and click on the “Forestry” tab.

Properties currently available for lease

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New Woodland Management Video

Interested in learning woodland management 101? Hull Forest Products offers free open-to-the-public woods walks and tours each year to explain the principles of forest management and show off our work. Can’t make it? Fret not, we have recorded the highlights of our latest woods tour in this 7-minute video:

 

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